Saturday, April 7, 2012

A review- Four Pack of Shops

Today I'm doing my first review (yeah me!). I decided that occasional reviews of products I use will be good for me and my loyal few viewers. I will share my take on whats good, whats meh, and whats really bad, and you can do with that information what you wish.

First victim, er product review is for Demo's Laser Cut Design four Pack of Shops.
I purchased these off of Ebay, for 32.00 +10.95 shipping. In the package you get:
4 different store front walls
3 different store rear walls (4 total)
2 different side walls (8 total)
4 roofs
8 short roof edges
8 long roof edges
parts to make 2 different style of awnings
4 bases
a laser cut sheet of window frames/ signs
8 sign braces
4 different doors (8 total)
8 door frames

 Sorry I forgot to put in the one door...

These buildings were put together in about 2 hours with no problems. The MDF they are made out of is not something I've seen before, but it is sturdy, flat, has a slight texture (almost like paper pulp) and cut with precision to fit almost seamless. The doors bases and frames are made from a type of plywood.
Since reviews are new to me, I'm going to try to separate into a pro and con group and give an overall rating after that.

The instructions for these models are great. They are clear and concise with both diagrams and pictures, multiple ways to square your building, and plenty of modeling tips. As I mentioned earlier, I put these together in about two hours. You could have four painted buildings done in an afternoon.

The window frames are laser cut from a sheet of card stock. They fit well over the window edges, look really good, and the middle "cutout" can be used for building signs and posters.

The buildings are all the same size and shape with plain outside features; the customization comes from the ability to switch doors and door locations and the door fronts themselves. This is going to be listed as a con also, but for now I will explain why this is good. I like to customize. These models will, when they are all finished, have very distinct looks. If they were decorated with laser scribed bricks and detail, they might be more limiting on how you finish them. These are plain enough that they could be used in both a Midwest town and middle east settings.

The "puzzle piece" roof design fits on the building with very little seam and is easy to take on and off.

The sign brackets (pictured below) are my favorite part of these kits. I can think of a dozen uses for these off the top off my head, and there are enough to use elsewhere if you don't mind sacrificing a few signs for your buildings.


The bases (pictured above) are made from plywood. They are cut out well with nice round edges, but because of the material I have one with a slight warp to it. Its not a problem for me as I do not plan on using them, but I would like to see bases made out of the same great material the walls are.

The buildings are all the same shape and size. (told you this would come up again) Not everyone customizes like I do. Even with the ability to change doors and door locations, the buildings tend to look the same. If there were optional building fronts, with different elevations ( IE a parapet or two of different heights)  it would make a huge difference in appearance. These could even be sold as an optional add-on kit. (hint hint)

The doors (and door frames) are too thick. The frames have to go on the outside of the wall, and stick out really far.  If the doors were half the thickness, that would fix the problem. I tried to make this a positive by drilling a hinge through the wall and door tab to make an actual working door, to no avail. the thickness of the door and hinge tabs prevented any kind of swing. I would be happier if the doors didn't have the tabs and the frames were made of card stock like the windows.

Conclusion: All in all, I really like these buildings. the cons are minor (to me anyway) and for a little more than $10.50 a building, you get some easy to build terrain that looks good as is, or you can customize it to your tastes.

Overall rating: 8.5 zombie heads out of 10

I hope this is helpful to someone.
Till next time,
Papa Spanky

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